This Monday, February 23rd at 6:30 pm: VCS presents “Leo Treitler: Our Mimetic Heritage from Plato to Louis Vuitton”

On Monday, the Visual & Critical Studies program will present our second entry in this semester’s Art in the First Person lecture series:

Monday, February 23, 6:30 pm
Leo Treitler: Our Mimetic Heritage from Plato to Louis Vuitton


133-141 West 21st Street, room 101C
New York, NY 10011
Free and open to the public

The concept of “mimesis” comes down to us from Greek Antiquity, evidently deriving the connotation of its name from the word for actor, “mimos,” in the context of either ritual or entertainment dramas of the culture. Given that background it took on the connotation of imitation or representational action. In either sense “mimesis” has implied a dichotomy of appearance as against reality. And under a compulsion for seeing likenesses the embrace of virtual realities is encouraged–a realization of fears notoriously expressed by Plato. The paper explores these pathways and their issue in aspects of contemporary culture and policy–for example the Louis Vuitton phenomenon, but also the conception of war and peace in the eyes of American populations and their governments.

Leo Treitler was born in Dortmund, Germany in 1931 and emigrated to the US in April, 1938. He studied composition with Boris Blacher at the Hochschule für Musik, Berlin 1957-58, received BA and MA degrees in music from the University of Chicago, MFA and PhD in music from Princeton University, and Doctor of Music /Honoris Causa /from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has held professorial positions at the University of Chicago, Brandeis University, Stony Brook University, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he is Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus since 2003, and guest professorships at Basel (Switzerland), Berkeley, Columbia, Frankfurt (Germany), Harvard, and Yale Universities. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the New York Institute for the Humanities. Books published: Music and the Historical Imagination, With Voice and Pen: Coming to Know Medieval Song and How it was Made, Strunk’s Source Readings in Music History, Revised Edition, Reflections on Musical Meaning and its Representations.

Visual & Critical Studies